Leisure, Happiness and Development: Reflections on China

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:40
Oral Presentation
Francis LOBO, School of Marketing Tourism and Leisure, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

Linking concepts of leisure, happiness and development have been generally well accepted. In reality however, increased wealth does on correlate with increased happiness. Although increased development may enable greater leisure experiences, they may not arise from leisure activities that promote health and wellbeing. China is selected as the nation for discussion. Data are drawn contemporary literature dealing with world happiness (Helliwell, Layard & Sachs, 2017) and literature on Finding Leisure in China (Godbey & Rui, 2015). As a country, China is ranked 79 out of 155 countries on happiness. Over the past quarter of a century the Gross National Product (GDP) in China has multiplied five-fold. But the Subjective Well-Being (SWB) in the last 15 years has diminished before showing a gradual rise. GDP relates to the economic side of life; SWB is a comprehensive measure of individual well-being and takes account of economic and noneconomic measures. The social scene in urban China has leaped as a consequence of: the two-child policy; increase in gross national income; and expansion of pastimes and leisure activities in the home and out-of-home. Consumer culture has started to take hold with the advent of increased discretionary time and increased income. The countryside is different – still work dominated and limited in leisure. The paper attempts to describe the status of leisure in modern China and link the concepts of leisure, happiness and development in shaping a future.


Helliwell, J.F., Layard R., & Sachs, J (Eds) (2017). World Happiness Report 2017. New York: UN Sustainable Development Network.

Godbey, G. & Rui, S. (2015). Finding Leisure in China. Pennysylvannia, Venture Publishing.

Keywords: Leisure, Happiness, Development, China